John Kerry, who has been confirmed as the next U.S. Secretary of State, has condemned Iran for its imprisonment of U.S. Pastor Saeed Abedini in comments made on Tuesday.
"We remain deeply concerned about the fairness and transparency of Mr. Abedini's trial," Kerry told Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) when asked for his response to Pastor Abedini's case. "I, along with the U.S. government, condemn Iran's continued violation of the universal right of freedom of religion and call on the Iranian authorities to respect Mr. Abedini's human rights and release him."
Adedini, the 32-year-old Iran-born pastor who was sentenced to 8 years in prison supposedly for "endangering national security" by helping underground churches, is appealing against the decision in what the ACLJ, which represents him, has called a "sham" trial. more >>
The wife of Pastor Saeed Abedini, the American sentenced to 8 years of prison in Iran, expressed her shock at the punishment her husband was given.
"It was a complete shock. The way it was handled by the court was shocking," Naghmeh Abedini said, according to KTVB.
"My first emotion went to my kids. I have a 4-year-old and a 6-year-old, and she will be a teenager the next time she sees her dad and that was pretty devastating and what do I tell them? My daughters heard me say eight years and she said 'what's eight years?' They've been praying every night, and every day they ask is Daddy coming home today? And I didn't want to take that hope away from them and with all the help and support he will come home soon." more >>
Iran's notorious Islamic Revolutionary Court on Sunday convicted Pastor Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen, of "threatening the national security" by leading house churches years ago, and sentenced him to eight years in Tehran's Evin Prison. Saeed's wife was "devastated" on hearing the news.
On Sunday morning, Judge Pir-Abassi of Branch 26 of the Iranian Revolutionary Court – known as the "hanging judge" – verbally convicted and sentenced Pastor Saeed to eight years in prison, according to the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which is representing the pastor's family in the United States.
The court defied Iranian law, which requires a written verdict. more >>
Pastor Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen facing a possible death sentence for his Christian faith in Iran and whose whereabouts were unknown since Thursday, had been moved to a different ward in Tehran's Evin Prison, the pastor's family has been told. However, the prison officials' claim is yet to be confirmed.
Prison officials told Saeed's family on Saturday that he had been moved to Ward 3, Hall 1 of Evin Prison in Tehran, according to information received by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which is representing Saeed's family in the United States.
However, the pastor's family could not see or speak with him because visitors are allowed into Ward 3 only on Monday. He was allegedly moved to this ward to receive better medical treatment. more >>
The U.S. State Department and the White House finally called on Iran to release Pastor Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen facing a possible death sentence for his faith. The pastor's wife and senators and representatives had said the State Department wasn't doing enough.
"We condemn Iran's continued violation of the universal rights of freedom of religion, and we call on the Iranian authorities to respect Mr. Abedini's human rights and to release him," Department of State Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said during the daily news briefing at the State Department on Friday.
Abedini's attorney had only one day to present his defense, Nuland said on his trial, which began Monday. "And we remain deeply concerned about the fairness and the transparency of his trial. We are in close contact with his family as well and we're actively engaged in the case." more >>
Tensions between Muslims and Christians in Malaysia have quickly escalated in the recent days following the advocacy of a "Bible-burning festival," an idea fueled by a parliament member's recent comments.
The controversy stems from recent comments made by independent parliament member Ibrahim Ali, founder and leader of Perkasa, a non-governmental Malay Supremacy organization which advocates the rights of the Muslim Malay majority in the country.
In a recent media program, Ali reportedly advocated that all Muslims burn Bibles which give reference to God as "Allah," as extremist Muslims in the country believe that term belong solely to Islam, according to The Malaysian Insider. more >>